SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!

SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
Quonnie Boat Launch – Pg. 6   2019 Recreational Regulations – Pg. 12   Striper and Fluke Assessment – Pg. 16

2019 R H O D E                          I S L AN D               R ECR E AT I O NAL

       the Bite!

                                                     The official regulations provided by the
                                                      Rhode Island Division of Marine Fisheries
                                       Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
2019 R H O D E         I S L A N D    R E C R E AT I O N A L

   State of Rhode Island and
    Providence Plantations
   Governor Gina M. Raimondo

RI Department of Environmental
       Director Janet Coit

  Bureau of Natural Resources
  Deputy Director Dean Hoxsie
Assistant Director Catherine Sparks

  Division of Marine Fisheries
                                                                                                                Photo courtesy of Pat Brown
     Chief Jason McNamee

         Rhode Island
    Marine Fisheries Council
                                         Table of Contents
          Robert Ballou
            Members                      2..........Welcome Letter                   14........Article – Fluke Research
           Travis Barao                  3..........Notable Catches                  16.......Article – Striper and Fluke
         Andy Dangelo                                                                                       Assessment
            Jeff Grant
                                         4..........General Information
           Jason Jarvis                  4..........Rhode Island Environmental       18........Commonly Caught Species
           David Monti                               Police – Division of             20........Access Sites
        Christopher Rein                             Law Enforcement                  22........Lobster/Crab Regulations
        Michael Rice, Ph.D.
          Mike Roderick
                                         5..........Recreational Saltwater           23........Equipment Regulations
                                                     Fishing License
                                                                                      24........Proper Shellfish Handling
Rhode Island Marine Recreational         5..........Aquatic Resource Education
       Fisheries Program                             Program (Dive Flag Awareness)    25........Shellfish Regulations
   Principal Marine Biologist            6..........Article – Quonnie Boat Launch   26........Article – Habitat Enhancement
            John Lake
                                         7..........Rhode Island Game                27........Article – Wind Turbines
       Christopher Parkins                                                            28........Party/Charter Notable Catches
                                                     Fish Award Program
  RI Division of Marine Fisheries                                                     30........Party/Charter Boat Directory
    – Marine Fisheries Section           8..........Article – APAIS
        3 Fort Wetherill Rd.             9..........Fishing Knots                    32........Bait & Tackle Shop Directory
       Jamestown, RI 02835               10........Availability Chart
           (401) 423-1923            10........How to Properly
                                                     Measure a Fish
     Cover Photo Courtesy:               12........2019 Recreational Regulations
      C-Devil II Sportfishing            13........State Records

                                      2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                            1
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
Welcome Letter
       On behalf of Governor Raimondo, I am pleased to introduce the seventh annual Rhode Island
    Saltwater Recreational Fishing Guide. The Ocean State offers some of the best saltwater recre-
    ational fishing anywhere. Whether you fish the waters of Narragansett Bay or the coastal waters
    stretching from the south shore out to Block Island and beyond, anglers in Rhode Island have
    many fantastic opportunities to enjoy the diversity and abundance of our local catch.
       As part of a larger network of recreational opportunities in the state, fishing plays an impor-
    tant role in connecting people with nature, promoting health, attracting tourism, and sup-
    porting a treasured tradition for Rhode Island families. According to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife                 Williamstown, MA | Birmingham, AL
    Service, there are approximately 175,000 recreational anglers (age 16+) in Rhode Island. And
    recreational fishing contributes more than $130 million to the economy each year. People love
    to fish in the Ocean State!
       This guide is written for both novice and seasoned anglers. I hope you will find it filled with

                                                                                                              About This Guide
    useful information on our efforts to provide superior recreational fishing opportunities in Rhode
    Island as well as with helpful guidance on fishing regulations. In these pages, you will learn about
    new habitat restoration initiatives, APAIS Program, aquatic resource education programs, striped
    bass and summer flounder management, wind farm research and much more. Many local busi-
    nesses that provide fishing-related services and supplies are also featured.
       This is your publication, funded by contributions from saltwater anglers, including the fed-           This high-quality guide is offered to you
    eral Sportfish Restoration Program and the Rhode Island Recreational Saltwater License Pro-               by the Rhode Island Division of Fish and
    gram. Thanks to your support, our Marine Fisheries Division carries out a range of programs               Wildlife Marine Fisheries Section through
    and activities supporting the interests of recreational fishermen. We monitor and conserve our            its unique partnership with J.F. Griffin
    local fish stocks. We work closely with recreational fishing organizations on initiatives like our        Publishing, LLC.
    special shore program for scup. And we continue to engage in outreach and education pro-
    grams, such as this guide.                                                                                The revenue generated through ad sales
       Getting people to and on the water is a core part of our mission at DEM. And we invest heavily         significantly lowers production costs and
    in improving boating and fishing access to ensure anglers can easily reach their favorite spots on        generates savings. These savings translate
    the water or along the shore. We’re excited to report that two major construction projects will get       into additional funds for other important
    underway this year. At the Quonochontaug Breachway in Charlestown, the existing boat launch               agency programs.
    will be reconstructed and a new, single-lane courtesy ramp featuring an improved design and
                                                                                                              If you have any feedback or are inter-
    orientation will be installed. This popular boat launch is widely used and provides boaters with ac-
    cess to Quonny Pond and Block Island Sound. And in the West Bay, a new timber fishing pier will           ested in advertising, please contact us at
    be built at Rocky Point State Park. The 280-foot-long T-shaped pier will feature a shade structure,       413.884.1001 or at
    benches, solar lighting, and varied railing heights that will allow people of all ages and abilities to
    enjoy access to Narragansett Bay.                                                                                    Graphic Design:
       DEM works in close partnership with the RI Saltwater Anglers Association (RISAA) to                       Jon Gulley, Dane Fay, John Corey,
    promote recreational fishing and introduce the sport to young Rhode Islanders through a popular              Evelyn Haddad, Chris Sobolowski
    fishing camp at Rocky Point State Park. The RISAA Foundation sponsored the first camp in 2016,
    teaching 50 children how to safely fish from boat and shore, some for the first time. Now in its
    fourth year, the camp takes place this summer from June 25-27. Little is more thrilling than cast-
    ing a line and reeling in that first fish – especially on beautiful Narragansett Bay. Kudos to RISAA
    for bringing this camp to Rocky Point and inspiring both a love of fishing and for this park in our
    children! It is through efforts like this that we forge the next generation of environmental stewards.
       Beyond the fun it brings, saltwater fishing is a great way to enjoy fresh, delicious seafood. From
    bluefish to scup to our beloved summer flounder, Rhode Island is well known for the wealth of
    seafood harvested year-round from our waters. But ultimately, whether you fish for fun or food,
    the common denominator is that you are part of a time-honored tradition made possible by
    Rhode Island’s amazing marine life. And we are committed to expanding this special opportunity
    to explore the briny wonders of our state and to providing a sustainable future for our precious
    marine resources.
       I hope this guide enhances your recreational fish-
    ing experiences. Be safe, respect the great outdoors
    and each other, and enjoy the magic of fishing in beau-
    tiful Rhode Island. Most importantly, HAVE FUN!

      Janet Coit
                                                                                                                    This guide is also
                                                                                                                    available online at

2                         2019 Rhode Island Saltwater
                                             2019 Rhode
                                                         Island Saltwater
                                                                 Guide Regulation Guide                                           Photo courtesy of Nathan Andrews
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
   If you would like to share your notable catches with
   us and have the chance to see them in next year’s
   fishing guide, please send pictures and information
                                                                                    Tom O’Brien                       Chuck Weishar
                                                                                    Caught his first false albacore   Got into some nice black sea bass when
   to                                                   shore fishing outside the         bottom fishing in Block Island Sound
                                                                                    harbor of refuge

 Nathan Andrews Robert Malouin Pat Freeman                                                                                   Ron Gravel
 Landed this 20-inch fluke                       Taking advantage of some fast         Hoisted this behemoth 13.5            Took advantage of a bluebird
 while fishing from shore, in                    action False Albacore on the fly      pound tautog from the rocks           day to enjoy some Rhode Island
 Narragansett Bay                                                                      while bottom fishing in RI            striped bass action

Maggie Rodrigue Pat    Harkin                                                            Greg Snow                         Sean Fitzgerald
                Wrangled this hefty false
Caught this nice fluke while bottom                                                      Of Snowfly Charters showing       Enjoying a cold fall day
                                                   albacore to the boat on a
fishing in RI over the summer                                                            off the power of a barbie rod     bottom fishing for tautog in
                                                   beautiful Fall day
                                                                                         while landing this 30 inch        Narragansett Bay
                                                                                         striper while rec fishing

   Background photo courtesy of Nathan Andrews

                                                          2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                         3
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
General Information
    Our Mission..
    The Division of Marine Fisheries mission is to
    ensure that the freshwater, marine, and wildlife
    resources of the State of Rhode Island will be
    conserved and managed for equitable and sus-
    tainable use. The Division is divided into three
    separate sections: Marine Fisheries, Freshwater
    Fisheries, and Wildlife Management.
       The Marine Fisheries section conducts
    research and monitoring of marine species to
    support the effective management of finfish,
    crustaceans, and shellfish of commercial and
    recreational importance. Some of the programs
    and projects that the Division is responsible for
    to support the proper management of marine
    species are resource assessment surveys includ-
    ing the Division of Marine Fisheries trawl
    survey and the Narragansett Bay and Coastal
    Pond Seine Surveys, as well as shellfish relaying
                                                           If you have any questions about this guide
                                                        or Rhode Island’s marine recreational fisher-                 Rhode Island
    and transplants, sea and port sampling, stock
    assessment modeling work, and aquaculture
                                                        ies, please contact:
                                                          John Lake
    and dredging project permit reviews. The
    Division is also responsible for developing and
                                                          Principal Marine Biologist
                                                          3 Fort Wetherill Rd.
                                                                                                                      Police –
    maintaining a wide array of regulations on
    marine species including setting seasons, size
                                                          Jamestown, RI 02835
                                                          (401) 423-1942
                                                                                                                      Division of Law
    limits, harvest methods and equipment, and
    daily possession limits.
       The Division provides information and
    outreach materials, including press releases,
                                                                                                                      John Mcilmail, Acting Chief
    brochures, website, fact sheets, and this fish-                                                                   The mission of the Environmental Po-
    ing guide to convey regulations and marine                                                                        lice is to protect our natural resources
    related topics to the regulated community and                                                                     and ensure compliance with all envi-
    general public.                                                                                                   ronmental conservation laws through
       The Division also works closely and collabor-                                                                  law enforcement and education.
    atively with the Rhode Island Marine Fisheries                                                                       The history of the Environmental
    Council (RIMFC) to advise the DEM Director          Marine Fisheries Laboratory located in Fort                   Police dates back to 1842 when the
                                                        Wetherill, Jamestown, RI
    on a multitude of marine related matters.                                                                         first game wardens were appointed to
                                                                                                                      the Commission of Shellfisheries.
                                                                                                                         Today, Environmental Police Offic-
                                                                                                                      ers are sworn law enforcement offic-
    Log your catch, try our new                                                                                       ers who are responsible for patrolling
                                                                                                                      and enforcing all laws, rules and
    data collection app!                                                                                              regulations pertaining to the state’s
                                                                                                                      fish, wildlife, boating safety and
    Download the Rhode Island Division of Fish and Wildlife VOLUNTARY recreational on-line                            marine resources as well as all crimi-
    angler logbook or download the SAFIS mobile application for iOS, Droid, or Windows. Just follow                   nal and motor vehicle laws within the
    the link on the page to sign up and get started. Party/Charter boat captains                 state parks and management areas.
    using the app can increase their tautog bag limit. Email john.lake@dem.rigov for details.                         Officers patrol over 60,000 acres of
                                                                                                                      state land, 92 salt and freshwater boat
                                                                                                                      launching and fishing areas, 300 miles
                                                                                                                      of rivers and streams, and 417 miles of
                                                                                                                      coastline. They are also cross-depu-
                                                                                                                      tized with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Ser-
                                                                                                                      vice and the National Marine Fisheries
                                                                                                                      Service. During their patrols, they
                                                                                                                      educate the public on the protection
                                                                                                                      of our natural resources and provide
                                                                                                                      safety for the public while enjoying
                                                                                                                      Rhode Island’s outdoors.

                                                                                                                      To report violations, please call:
                                                                                                                      (401) 222-3070

                                                                                    Photo courtesy of Patrick Brown

4                                                  2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
Recreational Saltwater Fishing License
What Rhode Island Anglers
Need to Know
In order to fish recreationally in Rhode Island marine waters, and in offshore federal waters, anglers and spearfishers
must have a RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing License, OR a Federal Registration, OR a license from a reciprocal state.

Overview                                                                     Recreational Saltwater
The Marine Recreational Information Program, or MRIP, is a compre-
hensive new nationwide data collection and reporting system being            Fishing License
implemented by NOAA Fisheries. All RI license information, as well as
that collected by NMFS and other states, will be incorporated into a na-                       License Type                                     Fee
tional registry of recreational anglers, enabling the new MRIP program
to readily survey current fishermen and more accurately assess recre-         RI residents (annually)                                          $7.00
ational catch and effort data. That information will lead to improved         Non-residents (annually)                                        $10.00
state-based assessments and more fair, accurate, and effective manage-
ment programs for Rhode Island’s marine recreational fisheries.               7-Day license                                                    $5.00
                                                                             • Available online at:
Reciprocal States
Rhode Island residents may use their RI Recreational Saltwater Fishing       • Also available from certain bait & tackle shops. A list of vendors can
License to fish in New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine.            be found on the recreational license webpage.
   Saltwater Recreational Fishing License holders from New York,
                                                                             • Applies in all RI waters, all offshore federal waters, and in all neigh-
Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Maine need not obtain a RI Saltwater
                                                                               boring state waters for finfish and squid.
Recreational Fishing License if they posses a valid license from on of the
states listed above.                                                         • Free for RI residents over 65 and for active military stationed in RI.
Please refer to pages 22 and 25 for information on lobster, shell-           • No license needed for children under 16, nor for anglers on party &
fish, and other recreational licenses.                                         charter boats. See website for additional exemptions.

Dive Flag Awareness
SCUBA, skin-diving and snorkeling are all common activities in Rhode
Island waters. When participating in any of these activities participants
must display a flag warning boaters of their presence under water. Divers
and boaters are required to follow the regulations below to ensure a safe
and fun time above and below the water.
• Boaters must maintain a safe distance of 50 feet from a dive flag, un-
  less the dive flag is in a place that obstructs navigation
• A warning flag shall be placed on a buoy at a place of the diver’s sub-
  mergence. The flag shall be red in color and at least twelve by twelve
  inches (12” x 12”) with a white stripe running from the diagonal
  corners and the stripe one quarter (1/4) as wide as the flag.
• If not placed on a buoy, a warning flag shall be conspicuously flown
  upon a vessel which the diver is then using in the area. This flag shall
  meet the description above, however, it shall be at least eighteen by
  eighteen inches (18”x 18”).
• The flag must only be flown during diving activity and should be taken
  down during transit
• No person shall use a dive flag in an area that obstructs navigation
• Divers should ascend slowly and cautiously, ensuring that they are                                                         Photo courtesy of Chris Parkins
  within the 50 foot safety zone around the flag

                                               2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                                    5
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
Article: Quonnie Boat Launch
    Construction Of A New Boat
    Launch At Quonochontaug Pond
    By Jillian Thompson, Conservation Engineer and Emily Koo, Public Access Coordinator, RI DEM Planning and Development
    The Nature Conservancy in partnership with RI DEM Division of Planning & Development

    In 2019, DEM will construct a new boat launch with a floating dock at           Construction of the new boat launch is slated to begin in Fall of 2019.
    Quonochontaug (Quonnie) Breachway in Charlestown, Rhode Island. A            The boat ramp will be reoriented in a north-south direction so boat-
    popular destination for boaters, anglers, paddlers, and summer tourists      ers can safely launch without having to fight the strong currents in the
    alike, Quonnie Pond offers picturesque views and sandy shoreline while       breachway channel. Improvements will include a new 24-foot wide pre-
    the breachway connects boaters to Block Island Sound.                        cast concrete boat ramp and a 6-foot wide floating dock with cleats and
       The coastal salt ponds are an immense asset to public recreation and      rub rails for boaters to tie to when launching or retrieving their vessel.
    revenue in Rhode Island. The deepest and most saline, Quonnie Pond is           The boat ramp slabs currently in place at Quonnie, originally installed
    over 700 acres in area with over 80 acres of salt marsh, which host vital    in 1971, will be removed, and large flat stones will be put in their place,
    fish and bird populations. Commonly caught fish species in the area          offering an additional fishing area.
    include striped bass, black seabass, tautog, scup, summer flounder, and         Much of the funding for the project will be provided by the U.S. Fish
    bluefish.                                                                    and Wildlife Service Sport Fish Restoration Program. The Sport Fish
       The breachway was once a natural channel that opened and closed           Restoration Program is a user-pay, user-benefit program that is derived
    periodically but was permanently opened by the Army Corp of Engi-            from taxes on motorboat fuel, fishing equipment, and the purchase of
    neers in the 1950s with the placement of armor stone along the shoreline.    some boats. A portion of the national funding is dedicated to DEM’s Di-
    These are the large granite rock walls that can be seen as you drive along   vision of Fish and Wildlife, specifically for boating access. This project is
    West Beach Road to access the parking lot and launch area.                   an excellent example of how those taxes are used for direct public benefit
       In early 2018, DEM, in partnership with The Nature Conservancy,           to improve and increase boating access to the waters of the state. The
    hired Fuss and O’Neill to develop a boat launch design that would            required matching funds for the project will be provided by the land value
    provide safer access for boaters and improve users’ launch and retrieval     of the public access area at Quonnie and saltwater fishing license receipts.
    efforts. The improvements would complement the significant salt marsh           Visit for more information
    restoration and enhancement at Quonnie Pond that was conducted by            on boating registration requirements and
    CRMC in late 2018 and early 2019.                                            huntfish for more information on fishing licenses.

       Proposed improvements at Quonochontaug Boat Launch
       Graphic provided courtesy of Fuss & O’Neill

    Is there another boating or fishing access site that you think needs improvement?
    We would love to hear from you! Contact Emily Koo, Public Access Program Coordinator, at or (401) 222-2776 ext. 7277

6                                                 2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
Award Programs
Rhode Island Game Fish                                                               Gamefish Award Qualifying
Award Program                                                                        Weights/Lengths
Each year, RIDEM-Division of Fish & Wildlife recognizes anglers who
have caught freshwater and saltwater game fish of notable size with our
                                                                                     (Except First Fish Awards)
Game Fish Award program. To be eligible, an angler must catch a qualify-
                                                                                                 Qualifying Freshwater Weights or Lengths
ing fish by rod and reel, tie-up or handline by legal means in Rhode Island
waters. To accommodate both ‘catch and release’ and harvest fishing, the               Smallmouth Bass 4 lbs.      Chain Pickerel                  4 lbs.
angler can either take a photo of the fish using a hand-scale and ruler or             Largemouth Bass 6 lbs.      Northern Pike                   10 lbs.
bring the catch to an official weigh station. The angler must then complete
                                                                                       Bluegill            9 in.   Brook Trout                     2 lbs.
the Game Fish / State Record Award Application, available at www.dem. One award per year is                 Pumpkinseed         8 in.   Brown Trout                     3 lbs.
issued for each species of game fish caught that meet the minimum size                 Black Crappie       12 in.  Rainbow Trout                   3 lbs.
requirements listed to the right. The Game Fish Award goes to the angler               Yellow Perch        12 in.  Golden Rainbow Trout            3 lbs.
with the largest catch in that species category. Game Fish Awards are
mailed out in the spring of the following year the fish was caught.                    White Perch         15 in.  Brown Bullhead                  13 in.
                                                                                       White Catfish       4 lbs.

RI State Record Award                                                                                  Qualifying Saltwater Weights
The Division of Fish and Wildlife maintains state records on each species              Striped Bass       50 lbs.   Pollock                        15 lbs.
of game fish caught in Rhode Island waters. To apply for an RI State
Record, the angler must bring his or her legally-caught fish to an official            Sea Bass           3 lbs.    Scup                           2½ lbs.
weigh-in station. The fish must be identified, measured, and weighed on                Bluefish           18 lbs.   Hickory Shad                   5 lbs.
a Rhode Island certified, digital scale. The station operator must fill out            Bonito             10 lbs.   Blue Shark                     80 lbs.
a Game Fish/State Record Award Application and sign it. State Record
Game Fish Awards are mailed out in the spring of the following year the                Cod                20 lbs.   Mako Shark                     150 lbs.
fish was caught. For a list of official fish weigh-in locations and applica-           Winter Flounder    2 lbs.    Swordfish                      200 lbs.
tions please visit                      Summer Flounder 8 lbs.       Squeteague                     8 lbs.
                                                                                       King Mackerel      3 lbs.    Tautog                         10 lbs.
                                                                                       Mackerel           1 lbs.    Bluefin Tuna                   450 lbs.
First Fish Award Program                                                               Yellowfin Tuna     125 lbs. White Marlin                    70 lbs.
First Fish Awards are available for children who catch their first fish in
Rhode Island. To qualify, an angler must have caught a fish by rod and
reel, tie-up or handline by legal means. Applications can be processed
                                                                                     Completed Applications
without the need for an official weigh-in. Below is the First Fish Award             Please send all completed applications to: RIDEM- Fish & Wildlife, 1B
application. It can also be downloaded using the following link: www.                Camp E-Hun-Tee Place, Exeter, RI 02822, for verification and process- First Fish Awards are processed twice a              ing. For questions about any of these award programs, email kimberly.
year: once in the fall and prior to the opening day of the following year.  or call (401) 539-0037.

                                                   First Fish Award
                        You can also visit to print out a copy.

        NAME: __________________________________ DATE YOU CAUGHT THE FISH: ___________________________
        ADDRESS: ______________________________________ TOWN __________________ ST _____ ZIP ___________

        EMAIL (optional): ______________________________ FISH SPECIES: ______________________________________

        WHERE YOU CAUGHT THE FISH: ________________________________

        WEIGHT OF FISH: __________________                     LENGTH OF FISH (tip of snout to tip of tail): __________________________

        SIGNATURE OF WITNESS (parent, grandparent, or other responsible adult): _____________________________________

        RETURN TO:           RI Division of Fish and Wildlife / Aquatic Resource Education Program
                             1B Camp E-Hun-Tee Place / Exeter, RI 02882

                                                  2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                                7
SaltwaterFishing - Feel the Bite!
Article: APAIS
    The APAIS Program
    Gets an Upgrade!
    By John Lake, Supervising Marine Biologist, Mike Bucko, Fisheries Technician,
    Nathan Andrews, Fisheries Specialist, RI DEM Division of Marine Fisheries

    Rhode Island assumed the role of coordinating the Access-Point Angler            digital with the Dockside Reporter! Instead of the big metal clipboards
    Intercept Survey (APAIS) back in 2016. Since then, we have sought to             and papers which anglers have grown accustomed to seeing at the end of
    improve the quality of our data by increasing productivity, efficiency,          their fishing trip, Fisheries Technicians will be surveying across Rhode
    providing effective outreach, and refining our sampling frame. In                Island’s shores with new electronic tablets equipped with new Dockside
    simpler terms, RI APAIS is capitalizing on Rhode Island’s many great             Interceptor App (DIA). RI APAIS staff have been working closely with
    fishing locations to collect the best data possible and interact with more       staff from the Atlantic Coast Cooperative Statistics Program (ACCSP),
    anglers. Rhode Island staff have embraced their new role in the collec-          Mid Atlantic and South Atlantic Fishing Councils, NOAA Fisheries, and
    tion of recreational data and have met the challenge for the past 3 years.       Harbor Light Software to develop the logic and flow of a digital version
    Actively engaging in the data collection process has allowed oppor-              of the fishing survey. This year, 2019, is the first year for its field imple-
    tunities to expand the program through the hiring of additional staff,           mentation and cumulates nearly three years of hard work.
    sampling during time periods that were previously not sampled, and                  Digital technology represents a whole suite of potential improve-
    developing new technologies.                                                     ments to the recreational data collection process, notably in data quality
       For the past three years, RI Marine Fisheries has hired two or three          and data collection efficiency. The new tablet-based system uses logic to
    additional field staff to collect more interviews. These additional staff        prevent errors, thus improving both the quality and timeliness of the
    make it possible for RI APAIS to record more interviews and improve              data by reducing the number of edits required for the data to be used
    our data, while at the same time reducing the percent standard error             for estimating catch rates. This new efficiency is particularly beneficial
    (PSE) around our catch estimates. The additional staff also provide              to the ACCSP who can now accept data via a digital upload, in lieu of
    flexibility to sample during times of the year which were previously             paper forms. Data is submitted immediately after an assignment and
    unsampled. Notably, riding along and observing headboat trips be-                immediately available for review. This “instant access” to the data is a
    tween November and February. These staff members are also engaged in             vast improvement over the weeks-long process for paper forms to be
    developing new technologies as tools to improve the programs. Addi-              scanned and uploaded to the MRIP database. Faster accesses to the data
    tionally, these tools allow us to train staff to be better at collecting data,   will allow for faster data analysis and an overall improved more efficient
    monitor fishing activity to direct sampling effort effectively, and improve      management process.
    data collection efficiency. The results have been very positive, Figure 1           This digital transition is not just taking place in Rhode Island. From
    displays our improvements in obtaining more angler intercepts.                   Maine to Florida, all states are going digital as part of a NOAA Fisher-
       Another exciting development is that, we are trading in our paper and         ies Marine Recreational Information Program (MRIP) objective. The
    pencils for new electronic tablets. This year, the APAIS program is going        transition to a digitally based data collection system is viewed as a
                                                                                     “gamechanger” for recreational fisheries management and will continu-
                                                                                     ally be improved to address other aspects of the program. RI staff are
                                                                                     continuing to make improvements to the Dockside Reporter and are key
                                                                                     players in the rollout of the new system. We are not done yet! Currently,
                                                                                     staff are developing an enhancement to the Dockside Reporter which
                                                                                     will include a voice-to-text software system. The goal here will be to
                                                                                     improve the speed and accuracy of collecting biological data at-sea on
                                                                                     headboats. The future looks bright for RI Marine Fisheries APAIS Pro-
                                                                                     gram. As always, if you see one of our Fisheries Technicians out in the
                                                                                     field, we encourage you to take a minute out of your day to answer a few
                                                                                     quick questions and measure your catch for that day. Don’t forget to set
                                                                                     the hook and set an example for other anglers by participating! Remem-
                                                                                     ber: Better Data, Better Fishing – You make it Possible.
                                                                                                                                                                      Photo Credit: Sean Moreschi

    Figure 1: Number of Angler intercepts in Rhode Island per year between 2016
    and 2018

8                                                     2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide
Fishing Knots
These and more fishing knots are available on waterproof plastic cards at
Illustrations c 2011 John E Sherry

   Improved Clinch Knot                                                               Rapala Knot
  The improved clinch knot has become one of the most popu-                           The rapala knot is a popular method to tie a lure or fly to a line
  lar knots for tying terminal tackle connections. It is quick and                    such that it can move freely and unimpeded by the knot.
  easy to tie and is strong and reliable.
     The knot can be difficult to tie in lines in excess of 30 lb test.               1. T
                                                                                          ie a loose overhand knot
  Five+ turns around the standing line is generally recommend-                           and feed the tag end
  ed, four can be used in heavy line. This knot is not recom-                            through the eye and back
  mended with braided lines.                                                             through the overhand

                                                                                      2. M
                                                                                          ake 3 turns around the
                                                                                         standing line and bring
                                                                                         tag end back through
                                                                                         overhand knot.
   1. T
       hread end of the line through the eye of the hook, swivel or lure. Double
      back and make five or more turns around the standing line. Bring the end
      of the line through the first loop formed behind the eye, then through the
      big loop.                                                                       3. P
                                                                                          ass tag end through
                                                                                         loop that is formed.

                                                                                      4. Moisten line. Pull on
                                                                                          standing line while
                                                                                          holding tag end to close
   2. W
       et knot and pull slightly on the tag end to         3. S
                                                                lide tight against       knot. Pull on both tag and
      draw up coils. Pull on the standing line to              eye and clip tag           standing line to tighten
      form knot with coils pressed neatly together.            end.                       knot down.

   Blood Knot                                                                         Dropper Loop Knot
   Use this knot to join sections of leader or line together.                         This knot forms a loop anywhere on a line. Hooks or other
   It works best with line of approximately equal diameter.                           tackle can then be attached to the loop.

                                                                                      1. F
                                                                                          orm a loop in the line at
                                                                                         the desired location. Pull
                                                                                         line from one side of loop
                                                                                         down and pass it through
                                                                                         and around that side
                                                                                         of loop. Make 5+ wraps
                                                                                         around the loop, keeping
                                                                                         a thumb or forefinger in
                                                                                         the new opening which is
   1. O
       verlap ends of lines to be joined. Twist one around the other making 5           formed.
      turns. Bring tag end back between the two lines. Repeat with other end,
      wrapping in opposite direction the same number of turns.
                                                                                      2. P
                                                                                          ress bottom of original
                                                                                         loop up through new
                                                                                         opening and hold with
                                                                                         teeth. Wet knot with
                                                                                         saliva and pull both ends
                                                                                         in opposite directions.

   2. S
       lowly pull lines or leaders in opposite direc-      3. P
                                                                ull tight and clip   3. P
                                                                                          ull ends of line firmly
      tions. Turns will wrap and gather.                       ends closely.             until coils tighten and loop
                                                                                         stands out from line.

                                                         2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                      9
Availability Chart
     This chart shows the general availability of common finfish species in Rhode Island waters.
     * Please note that times of peak activity may vary due to water temperatures, prey availability, etc.

     Important Recreational Species Availability Chart
             Species            Jan.    Feb. March          April        May         June         July       Aug.   Sept.   Oct.    Nov.    Dec.

      Black Sea Bass


      Atlantic Cod

      False Albacore/

      Hickory Shad




      Striped Bass

      Summer Flounder

      Tautog (Blackfish)

      Winter Flounder

        POOR                    GOOD                     GREAT                   SEASON CLOSED

       How to Properly Measure a Fish
       Total Length Measurement
       The total length is the maximum length of the fish, from the tip of the snout to the tip of the tail. The best way to obtain this length
       is to push the fish’s snout up against a vertical surface with the mouth closed and the fish laying along or on top of a tape measure.
       Measure to the tip of the tail or pinch the tail fin closed to determine the total length. Do NOT use a flexible tape measure along
       the curve of the fish, as this is not an accurate total length measurement. When measuring the total length of black sea bass, do
       NOT include the tendril on the caudal fin.

          The Correct Way to Determine Total Length Measurement                       The Incorrect Way to Determine Total Length Measurement

10                                                  2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide
• Take-A-Kid Fishing
                                                                                     • Help Build WE       DO:
                                                                                                  Fish Ladders
                                                                                       ••    Take-A-Kid Fishing
                                                                                             Tag & Release  Program
                                                                                        ••   Help Build Fish
                                                                                             Youth Fishing   Ladders
                                                                                       ••    Tag
                                                                                             Public   SALTWATER
                                                                                                 & Release
                                                                                                    Access  Program
                                                                                        ••   Youth    ANGLERS
                                                                                                    MORE Camp
ATTENTION:                                                                             • the
                                                                                                           to protect
                                                                                                    of fishing!
Striped Bass
Fin Clipping Regulation                                                   WE   NEED
                                                                              • MUCH MORE to protect
                                                                            WHAT        WE
                                                                                the future          YOUR
                                                                                           of fishing!
All striped bass recreationally harvested over 34 inches                  SUPPORT
                                                                             YOU TO DO...          NOW!!
must have their right pectoral fin completely removed.
Only remove the right pectoral fin of fish over 34 inch-
                                                                                 WHAT WE NEED
                                                                            Go to Booth #1321     right
                                                                                                      us NOW   and sign up for your
                                                                                  YOU TO DO...
es that you intend to take home, do not remove any                                            Help       continue:
fins of fish when practicing catch and release fishing.                     RI license plate
                                                                                  College    to be a Special
                                                                                          Scholarships         StripedSciences
                                                                                                           in Marine    Bass Plate –
This regulation helps ensure that any fish captured dur-                           every plate
                                                                                   Herring     purchased
                                                                                           Ladders     &    provides
                                                                                                         Restoration   funding
                                                                            Go to Booth #1321 right NOW and sign up for your
ing recreational harvest cannot be sold commercially                                         forbe
                                                                                                 our•a Foundation!
in Rhode Island or Massachusetts. No dealer in Rhode                        RI Research  Projects
                                                                               license plate to        Tag andStriped
                                                                                                       Special  Release   Program
                                                                                                                        Bass Plate –
Island or Massachusetts can purchase a striped bass                            Take-A-Kid  Fishing    Day •  Youth  Fishing
                                                                                   every plate purchased provides funding   Camp
with its right pectoral fin clipped. Please do your part                                     forand
                                                                                                 ourmuch    more!
and help prevent the illegal sale of striped bass caught
while recreational fishing.

                                                                              FREE GIFT for the first 300 people
                                                                                   who sign up at the show!!
                                                                              FREE WHAT WE DO:
                                                                           Support ourGIFT for the
                                                                                       Foundation andfirst 300 people
                                                                                                       get Striped Bass Plates
                                                                                   who   sign  upcar
                                                                                         for your
                                                                                     • Take-A-Kid  atorthe  show!!
                                                                           Support our Foundation
                                                                                        Help Buildand
                                                                                                    Fishget Striped Bass Plates
                                                                                         for your car or truck!
                                                                                       • Tag & Release Program
                                        Photo Credit: Massachusetts
                                                                                       • Youth Fishing Camp
                                      Department of Marine Fisheries
                                                                                       • Public Access Protection
The right pectoral fin should be removed as
close to the body of the fish as possible.
                                                                                       • MUCH MORE to protect
                                                                                         the future of fishing!

                                                                                WHAT WE NEED
                                                                                 YOU TO DO...
                                                                          Go to Booth #1321 right NOW and sign up for your
                                                                          RI license plate to be a Special Striped Bass Plate –
                                                                                 every plate purchased provides funding
                                                                                           for our Foundation!

                                                                              FREE GIFT for the first 300 people
                                                                                 who sign up at the show!!
                                   Photo courtesy of L’il Toot Charters
                                                                          Support our Foundation and get Striped Bass Plates
                                                                                        for your car or truck!
    2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                                                       11
2019 Recreational Regulations
     2019 Size, Season and Possession Limits
                                          Species                                           Minimum Size            Open Season                 Possession Limit
                                                                                                                                              25 eels/person/day or
     American Eel                                                                                   9"            Open year round          50 eels/vsl/day for licensed
                                                                                                                                              party/charter vessels
                                                                                                                  June 24 - Aug. 31              3 fish/person/day
     Black Sea Bass                                                                                 15"
                                                                                                                   Sept. 1 - Dec. 31             7 fish/person/day
     Bluefish                                                                               No minimum            Open year round               15 fish/person/day
                                                                                            17" whole fish                                        50 lbs of tails or
     Monkfish (Goosefish)                                                                                         Open year round
                                                                                                11" tail                                        166 lbs whole/day
     River Herring (alewives and blueback herring) & American Shad                          Not applicable            CLOSED                      Not applicable
     Scup (shore and private / rental boat)                                                       9"              Open year round               30 fish/person/day
     Scup (special shore) ***                                                                     8"              Open year round               30 fish/person/day
                                                                                                                   Jan. 1 - Aug. 31             30 fish/person/day
     Scup (party and charter)                                                                       9"            Sept. 1 - Oct. 31             50 fish/person/day
                                                                                                                   Nov. 1 - Dec. 31             30 fish/person/day
     Striped Bass (see page 11 for fin clipping regulation)                                      28"              Open year round                1 fish/person/day
     Summer Flounder (general)                                                                   19"               May 3 - Dec. 31               6 fish/person/day
                                                                                               17" (See                                      2 fish @ 17" person/day
     Summer Flounder (special shore)***                                                                             May 3 - Dec. 31
                                                                                           Possession Limit)                                 4 fish @ 19" person/day
                                                                                                                   Apr. 1 - May 31               3 fish/person/day
     Tautog (Blackfish)                                                                                            June 1 - July 31                    CLOSED
     Max of 10 fish/ves/day                                                                        16"
     during all periods, except licensed party / charter boats                                                     Aug. 1 - Oct. 14              3 fish/person/day
                                                                                                                  Oct. 15 - Dec. 31              5 fish/person/day
     Weakfish (Squeteague)                                                                         16"            Open year round                1 fish/person/day
     Winter Flounder ** (Blackback)                                                                12"             Mar. 1 - Dec. 31              2 fish/person/day
     **	The harvesting or possession of winter flounder is prohibited in Narragansett Bay north of the Colregs line (line from South Ferry Rd. in Narragansett to Fort
        Getty; Fort Wetherill to Fort Adams; and Sandy Pt. to High Hill Pt.), as well as in the Harbor of Refuge, Point Judith and Potter Pond.
     ***	Special Shore Areas: While fishing from shore in the following areas, above special shore possession limits apply: India Point Park in Providence, Conimicut Park
        in Warwick, Stone Bridge in Tiverton, East and West walls in Narragansett, Rocky Point in Warwick, Fort Adams in Newport, and Fort Wetherill in Jamestown

                                                               Come visit “The Biggest Little
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                                                                                                                          — Alabama’s Black Belt —
State Records
Rhode Island Recreational State Records
for Saltwater Species
   Species           Weight         Length         Date         Location              Angler
                                                                                    K. McDuffie
 Sea Bass         8 lbs. 7.25 oz.      26”         10/81      Block Island
                                                                                    Pascoag, RI
 Striped                                                                              P. Vican
                  77 lbs. 6.4 oz      52”          6/11       Block Island
 Bass                                                                            E. Greenwich, RI
                                                                                   D. Deziel
 Bluefish             26 lbs.         39”          8/81             —
                                                                                 Woonsocket, RI
                                                                                   R. Gliottone
 Bonito               13 lbs.          —           10/95        Westerly
                                                                                    Exeter, RI
                                                                                   M. Deciantis
 Cod                  71 lbs.          —           6/65             —
                                                                                   Warwick, RI
 Summer                                                          Narrow             G. Farmer
                   17 lbs. 8 oz.       —           1962
 Flounder                                                         River             Warwick, RI
 Winter                                                                            A. Pearson
                    6 lbs. 7 oz.      23”          8/90          Galilee
 Flounder                                                                          Cranston, RI
 King                                                                               A. Camilleri
                   12 lbs. 3 oz.      40”          8/00       Point Judith
 Mackerel                                                                           Chester, CT
 Atlantic                                                                           T. Rovinelli
                    1lb 1.6oz.         14”         11/18
 Mackerel                                                                         Providence, RI
                                                                                    A. Jacobs
 Pollock           28 lbs. 8 oz.       —           5/95             —
                                                                                    Lincoln, RI
                                                                                     J. Yurwitz
 Scup                  5 lbs.        20.25”        10/90            —
                                                                                  Block Island, RI
                                                                 Runnins            W. Socha
 Shad               6 lbs. 8 oz.      25”          4/85
                                                                  River             Warren, RI
 Hickory                                                         Narrow            M. Pickering
                   2 lbs. 11 oz.      20”          11/89
 Shad                                                             River             Lincoln, RI
                                                                                      G. Gross
 Blue Shark       431 lbs. 2 oz.      12’6”        11/06       Cox Ledge
                                                                                    Fairfield, NJ

 Mako Shark          718 lbs.         10’6”        6/93
                                                                 S. Block
                                                                                     W. Alessi
                                                                                    Boston, MA             Showcase
 Swordfish           588 lbs.          —           8/18          Atlantic
                                                                                   L. Banfield                 your business!
                                                                                Saunderstown, RI
                      16 lbs.                                  Greenwich            R. Moeller
 Squeteague                            36”         5/07
                     8.72 oz.                                     Bay            N. Kingstown, RI

 Tautog            21 lbs. 4 oz.       —           11/54       Jamestown          C.W. Sunquist

                     1142 lbs.         —           9/71       Block Island          J. Dempsey
 Yellowfin                                                                          R. Hughes
                     265 lbs.          6’          10/97         The Dip
 Tuna                                                                             Arlington, MA
 White                                                           S. Block            J. Luty, Sr.
                     125 lbs.        8’ 0.5”       8/87
 Marlin                                                           Island            Preston, CT

If you believe you’ve caught a new Rhode Island State Record, bring it to an official weigh-in sta-          For advertising inquiries, please call
tion to be weighed and measured using a digital scale. State record catches are determined annu-
ally once all data are received for that year. A list of official weigh-in stations can be found on Fish             (413) 884-1001
& Wildlife’s Webpage at
                                                                                                           Missed the printed edition?
                                                                                                           Ask about year-round digital opportunities.
                      2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                                                       13
Article: Fluke Research
     Spatial Sex-Segregation
                                                                                                                      western hemisphere. In addition, RIDMF has
                                                                                                                      conducted monthly and seasonal fish trawls at
                                                                                                                      stations throughout Narragansett Bay and the
                                                                                                                      Rhode Island and Block Island Sounds since

     in Rhode Island Fluke
                                                                                                                      1979. Utilizing these two surveys, over 1,300
                                                                                                                      fluke were collected throughout Rhode Island
                                                                                                                      state waters between May and October of 2016
                                                                                                                      and 2017. Each fish was measured and dissected
     By Joseph A. Langan, University of Rhode Island                                                                  to determine its sex. The proportions of each
                                                                                                                      sex in each trawl were then compared to a suite
     Graduate School of Oceanography                                                                                  of potential parameters, like bottom water
                                                                                                                      temperature, month, and depth, to look for evi-
                                                                                                                      dence spatial sex-segregation and understand
                                                                                                                      what factors may influence it.
     For many Rhode Islanders, the opening of fluke            between 2009 and 2016 illustrated this possibil-          The results of this study showed that fluke
     season on May 1st is a sure sign of summer.               ity. The researchers showed that the vast major-       harvested by recreational anglers in Rhode
     Fluke, or summer flounder, support one of the             ity of fluke harvested by New Jersey anglers           Island are indeed almost entirely female. For
     most important commercial finfish fisheries               were female and as a result, went on to suggest        example, under the 18 in and 19 in minimum
     on the Atlantic coast and one of the larg-                a slot limit as a viable management alternative        length limits used in the Rhode Island recre-
     est recreational fisheries in the United States           for the recreational fishery (Morson et al. 2012,      ational fishery in 2016 and 2017 when the study
     (NMFS 2018). In fact, the recreational fishery            2015, 2017). However, these investigations also        was conducted, 93.0% and 97.7%, respectively, of
     is so significant that it is allocated a significant      showed something fishy was going on- the sex           the sampled “legal-sized” fluke were female. The
     portion of the total annual fluke harvest, on             ratio of a boat’s catch varied depending on            size distribution of fluke in state waters was also
     par with the commercial fishery (NEFSC 2013).             where it came from. Fluke landed in shallow            found to vary throughout the season. Smaller
     While fluke are managed as one coastwide                  waters seemed to be female more often than             fish were the first to arrive in May before large
     stock, recreational harvest limits vary among             those caught in deeper habitats. While it has          females reached the coastal zone in late-June
     states or groups of states (Terceiro 2018). This          been observed in other flatfish like Pacific           and July. The large fluke then began to thin out
     framework was created to allow states flex-               halibut (Loher et al. 2012) and American plaice        in August as they presumably headed offshore
     ibility in how they meet their harvest limits for         (Swain 1997), spatial segregation of the sexes         to spawn. Interestingly, young-of-the-year fluke
     their respective recreational fisheries. However,         was not known previously in fluke. Further-            were also observed in the trawl samples. After
     it is important to consider fluke biology in              more, it was difficult to pull apart potential         being spawned in the fall and spending winter
     developing these rules each year.                         patterns of sex-segregation from patterns of           and spring growing in the shallow areas of Nar-
         Like many flatfish, fluke are sexually di-            fishing effort and angler behavior.                    ragansett Bay and the coastal ponds, young-of-
     morphic. This means that the sexes are visibly               In order to get to the bottom of this phenom-       the-year fish appeared to move to deeper waters
     different from each other. Specifically, females          enon, a study was launched by researchers from         beginning in July. By October, these young fluke
     grow larger and faster than males (King et al.            the University of Rhode Island Graduate School         made up a large proportion of the fish remaining
     2001). When recreational harvest is regulated             of Oceanography (GSO) and the Rhode Island             in state waters before they too migrated offshore.
     by a minimum length limit, as is the case in              Division of Marine Fisheries (RIDMF). Rhode               Clear patterns of spatial sex-segregation were
     Rhode Island, this dimorphism creates a risk              Island is unique in that the state is swimming         observed in the sampled fluke. Females were
     of removing a disproportionate number of the              in scientific survey data of its marine ecosys-        found to prefer shallow waters while males
     females that are important for stock productiv-           tems. The weekly trawl survey conducted by             dominated deeper areas of the coastal zone. It
     ity. A series of studies in New Jersey conducted          GSO since 1959 is the longest of its kind in the       is not known what causes these patterns, but it

     Figure 1. Sex ratios of sampled fluke by (A) month and depth categories and (B)      Figure 2. The percent of sampled fluke that were legal for recreational harvest
     size bin and depth categories: blue represents all depths, green is depths > 50      under an 18 in minimum length limit by month and depth bin. Sample sizes for
     ft, and gold is depths ≤ 50 ft. An even sex ratio (1:1) is demarcated by the red     each month and depth bin are printed at the bottom of each bar.
     horizontal hashed line. Sample sizes for month and depth category–size bin are
     labeled under each bar. The error bars represent the 95% confidence interval
     of each sex ratio estimate. Fluke > 18 in in length were excluded in (B) due to an
     extreme female skew.

14                                                        2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide
may be because shallow habitats are warmer                  mer flounder were female based upon their
and thus help females to maintain their fast                individual total lengths, the depth of the
growth rates. That said, the sex ratio was                  capture location, and the month of capture.
not observed to respond to every change in                  The model was found to predict sex correctly
water temperature. Further research will                    in individual flounder nearly 80% of the time.
be needed to better understand why female                   When the model was applied to a large sam-
fluke preferentially select shallower habitats.             ple of fluke, at the scale of annual recreational                                Est. 1954
   The degree of sex-segregation also                       catch for example, assigning each fluke pro-
changed throughout the season. The catch in                 portionately between the sexes based upon                   Hunt prime land in
May tended to be dominated by small female                  the predicted female probability produced                   Barbour & Bullock Counties.
fluke, before more males and large females                  a very accurate estimate of the sample-wide                 • Highest deer density in Alabama. Hogs, coyotes and
moved inshore in June. These males and                      sex ratio. In this manner, the model could                    bobcats no charge, no limit (with paid deer hunt).
large females then moved offshore together                  be used to accurately predict the sex ratio of
                                                                                                                        • 6,000 acre family-owned plantation. NO LEASED LAND.
beginning in August, leaving a population                   fluke harvested within Rhode Island waters
heavily skewed toward young female fluke                    using capture information that is commonly                  • 50 Food Plots with elevated shooting houses
by October (Figure 1). Samples from loca-                   available to fisheries scientists. However, it is             surrounded by pines and oak bottoms.
tions less than 50 ft deep were female-domi-                unclear how well the model would perform                    • New cottages with private bedrooms and baths.
nated throughout the season, while locations                outside the immediate area. More research                     First class lodge. All meals included.
deeper than 50 ft were male-dominated in                    needs to be conducted in other locations                    • Great family hunting experience with
every month except October.                                 before the results found in Rhode Island are                  true southern hospitality
   Thinking from the angler’s perspective,                  used in fluke management coastwide. That
these patterns combine to suggest a clear                   being said, the clear and predictable patterns
fishing strategy to find legal fluke. The pro-              of fluke sex-segregation identified in this
portion of fluke in the trawl samples legal for             study suggest that implementation of more
recreational harvest peaked in July (Figure                 targeted spatial fluke management measures
2). At locations less than 50 ft deep, nearly               to preserve the female spawning stock may be
40% of the July-captured fluke were larger                  possible in the future.
than the 18” minimum length limit used                          If you would like to learn more about
to regulate the recreational fishery in 2016!               this research, it was published in February
All of the sampled “doormat” fluke (here                    2019 as an open access scientific paper in
considered fish >24 in) were also observed                  Marine and Coastal Fisheries under the                      Visit us at
between mid-June and mid-August. If, how-                   title “Evaluating Summer Flounder Spatial                   To plan your hunt, call J. Paul Taylor at 877.539.5699
ever, you find yourself trying to catch those               Sex-Segregation in a Southern New England
last few legal fluke late in the season, you                Estuary” (https://afspubs.onlinelibrary.
will want to head for deeper waters. Deep          This
areas of Rhode Island state waters become                   work was a contribution of the Rhode Island
warmer than shallow habitats in October as                  Marine Fisheries Institute and benefitted
Fall cooling begins to take effect.                         from monetary support of one of its partici-
   In addition to identifying and character-                pants by the National Science Foundation
izing patterns of spatial sex-segregation in                REU Program (OCE-1460819) hosted by the
fluke, a statistical model was constructed to               GSO Summer Undergraduate Research Fel-                                               Quality Fishing
predict the probability that captured sum-                  lowship in Oceanography (SURFO).                                                  Products & Services to
                                                                                                                                               Get You Fishing Fast

                                                                                                                          Fishing Equipment • Bait & Tackle
                                                                                                                         Kayak Sales & Rentals • Fishing Line
King, N. J., G. C. Nardi, and C. J. Jones. 2001. Sex-linked growth divergence of Summer Flounder from a com-               Fishing Licenses • Rods & Reels
mercial farm: are males worth the effort? Journal of Applied Aquaculture 11:77–78.
                                                                                                                                Salt & Freshwater Bait
Loher, T., and J. Hobden. 2012. Length and sex effects on the spatial structure of catches of Pacific Halibut
(Hippoglossus stenolepis) on longline gear. U.S. National Marine Fisheries Service Fishery Bulletin 110:46–51.
Morson, J. M., E. A. Bochenek, E. N. Powell, and J. E. Gius. 2012. Sex- at-length of Summer Flounder landed in the
New Jersey recreational party boat fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management 32:1201–1210.                         157 Main Street, Westerly, RI
Morson, J. M., E. A. Bochenek, E. N. Powell, E. C. Hasbrouck, J. E. Gius, C. F. Cotton, K. Gerbino, and T. Froehlich.                  401-596-7217
2015. Estimating the sex composition of the Summer Flounder catch using fishery-independent data. Marine           
and Coastal Fisheries: Dynamics, Management, and Ecosystem Science [online serial] 7:393–408.
Morson, J. M., D. Munroe, R. Harner, and R. Marshall. 2017. Evaluating the potential for a sex-balanced harvest
approach in the recreational Summer Flounder fishery. North American Journal of Fisheries Management
NEFSC (Northeast Fisheries Science Center). 2013. 57th northeast regional stock assessment workshop (57th
SAW) assessment report. NEFSC, Reference Document 13-16, Woods Hole, Massachusetts.
NMFS (National Marine Fisheries Service). 2018. Fisheries Economics of the United States, 2016. U.S. Dept. of
Commerce, NOAA Tech. Memo. NMFS-F/SPO-187, 243 p.                                                                       #1 BAIT + TACKLE SHOP
                                                                                                                                                 Fishing Charters
Swain, D. P., and R. Morin. 1997. Effects of age, sex and abundance on the bathymetric pattern of American
Plaice in the southern Gulf of St. Lawrence. Journal of Fish Biology 50:181–200.                                                              410 Gooseberry Rd.
Terceiro, M. 2018. The Summer Flounder chronicles III: struggling with success, 2011–2016. Reviews in Fish                                          Wakefield, RI
Biology and Fisheries 28:381– 404.                                                                                                                    401-783-7766

                                                         2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide                                                                            15
Article: Striper and Fluke Assessment

     Striper and Fluke
     By Jason McNamee, Chief of Marine Fisheries and Nicole Lengyel Costa
     Principal Marine Biologist, RI DEM Division of Marine Fisheries
                                                                                                                                          Fluke photo credit: Chris Parkins.

     The Marine Recreational Information Program                 One of the surveys, the Access Point               2018 Benchmark Striped Bass
     (MRIP), formerly the Marine Recreational Fish-           Angler Intercept Survey (APAIS) has trained           Stock Assessment
     ery Statistics Survey (MRFSS), is a collaborative        samplers go into the field at public locations,       The 2018 benchmark striped bass stock assess-
     recreational data collection and estimation              such as boat ramps and marinas, and inter-            ment used recreational catch estimates from
     program that includes state, regional, and fed-          view anglers about the fishing trip they just         1982 – 2017 as a source of removals in a statisti-
     eral partners. Recreational data is collected from       completed. The sampler has a list of questions        cal catch-at-age (SCA) model. Catch estimates
     anglers and Captains through a suite of surveys,         that they ask the angler designed to collect in-      included both direct harvest and live releases.
     each designed to collect a unique piece of data          formation regarding the species harvested and         The assessment compared uncalibrated harvest
     that is used in the overall estimation of recre-         released, as well as the fishing trip itself. In      and dead release estimates to estimates that
     ational catch and effort. Although the program           2013, APAIS implemented an improved survey            incorporated just the calibrated APAIS, as
     has seen many improvements over the years,               design to address the potential for bias in sur-      well as estimates that incorporated both the
     the findings of a 2006 review by the National            vey results. To make the estimates generated          calibrated APAIS and FES. These comparisons
     Research Council prompted MRIP to make                   under the new sampling design comparable              showed that calibrated MRIP estimates were
     improvements to the design of several surveys.           to the pre-2013 estimates, a calibration model        significantly higher than non-calibrated MRIP
                                                              was developed. This model passed peer review          estimates, and that the incorporation of the
                                                              in 2018 and became available for manage-              FES calibration was largely responsible for the
                                                              ment use.                                             observed difference (Figure 1; NEFSC, 2019).
                                                                 Also in 2018, a random-digit-dial telephone        Calibrated harvest estimates were on average
                                                              survey known as the Coastal Household Tele-           140% higher while calibrated live releases were
                                                              phone Survey (CHTS), was discontinued and             on average 160% higher. Despite these differ-
                                                              a new mail-based Fishing Effort Survey (FES)          ences, both the calibrated and non-calibrated
                                                              that began in 2015 was adopted as the source          estimates showed similar trends in spawning
                                                              of recreational fishing effort data. The effort       stock biomass (SSB) over time (NEFSC, 2019).
                                                              survey is used to estimate the number of fishing         The impact of these data on the assessment
                                                              trips taken by shore and private boat anglers.        findings was also significant. In order for the
                                                              Both the CHTS and FES were conducted side-            striped bass population to be able to support
                                                              by-side for three years (2015-2017) to facilitate     the larger recreational removals indicated
                                                              the development of a calibration model that           by the newly calibrated MRIP estimates,
                                                              would be used to re-estimate historical effort        the model estimated that there was also a
                                                              data, similar to what was done for APAIS. The         higher level of SSB than previously indi-
                                                              FES calibration model became available for use        cated. Although the 2018 SCA model shows
                                                              after it passed peer review in 2017. The APAIS        a similar declining trend in female SSB to
                                                              and this effort survey are used in tandem to          that of the 2013 SCA model, the decline since
                                                              generate recreational fishing catch and ef-           2012 became much sharper. The striped bass
                                                              fort information.                                     population is defined as overfished when the
                                                                 Recreational catch and effort estimates are        female SSB is below the estimate of female SSB
                                                              important data sources for any species stock          in 1995, the year the striped bass population
                                                              assessment. This data can inform the model            was declared restored. Female SSB in 2017 was
                                                              about how much recreational fishing pressure a        estimated at 68,476 mt, a value below the SS-
                                                              species is under and can characterize the recre-      Bthreshold of 91,436 mt, indicating the striped
                                                              ational fishery removals from both harvest and        bass stock is overfished.
                                                              releases. The 2018 benchmark stock assessments           The fishing mortality rate (F) that will main-
                                                              for striped bass and summer flounder were both        tain the striped stock at the SSBthreshold is
     Figure 1. Comparison of calibrated and uncalibrated
     MRIP estimates of recreational harvest (top) and live
                                                              peer reviewed in November 2018 at the North-          the defined as the Fthreshold. In the 2018 SCA
     releases (bottom) for Atlantic striped bass through      east Regional SAW/SARC 66 (NEFSC 2019). The           model the Fthreshold was estimated to be 0.240
     2017. Uncalibrated = original MRIP estimates; APAIS      benchmark stock assessments for these two spe-        and F in 2017 was estimated to be 0.307, indi-
     calibration = MRIP estimates after calibration to ac-    cies were the first to include the newly calibrated   cating the stock is experiencing overfishing.
     count for changes in the Access Point Angler Intercept   MRIP catch and effort estimates, and provided            While the newly calibrated MRIP estimates
     Survey (APAIS). APAIS + FES calibration = MRIP esti-
     mates after calibration to account for APAIS changes
                                                              the first opportunity to look at the effects of the   are thought to be a major factor contributing to
     and the change in effort estimation from the coastal     transition to the FES in 2018, and the calibra-       the finding that the striped bass stock is over-
     household telephone survey to a mail-based fishing       tion of historic catch and effort data using the      fished and overfishing is occurring, other con-
     effort survey (FES). This figure is from NEFSC (2019).   APAIS and FES calibration models.                     tributing factors include the reduced bag limits

16                                                       2019 Rhode Island Saltwater Regulation Guide
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